Choosing Seats - what to believe

  • Hi Guest, welcome to the help forum. You can get fast answers to your customer service questions here. We have a dedicated team of advocates who are ready to help. Just go to the section that matches your question and ask us!
  • If you've posted a question or issue for our advocates to assist with, please be sure to check back frequently for responses and requests for clarification.
  • Did you know you can get email notifications when something new posts to your favorite forum? It's easy. Just click the "watch" link right next to the "post new thread" button at the top of your favorite forum. The rest is easy. Now you'll never miss another conversation.
  • Want to become an expert user? Drop by the How to use this forum section and all will be revealed. We'll show you how to make the most of your experience.
May 16, 2018
20
6
3
54
#1
Hello all,

I booked 4 round-trips on Aer Lingus from BOS-VIE for the end of July. I paid extra to be able to choose seats on the long-haul flights across the Atlantic. The configuration of the aircraft is 2-4-2 and so I chose 2 rows of 2 (window-aisle) seats. On the outgoing leg, I chose 12 AC and 13 AC as the seats. The Aer Lingus seat map when I chose the seats also showed these seats as in front of the wing rather than on the wing. (We like to look out.) I should add that these are considered "Choice" seats.

Recently a friend who travels frequently said I should check SeatGuru to see if the seats are ok. I did and SeatGuru said the plane will be an Airbus A330-300 (333). The SeatGuru map shows no window in row 13. On the same page, it says that Aer Lingus also uses 2 versions of an Airbus A330-200 (332), though it did not select those for my flight. The second version of the -200 looks like what I saw when choosing seats, and it's fine. The first version of the -200 actually has a window missing in row 12! So, there are 3 versions of the plane and 2 have a window missing in one of the rows I chose.

Then I went to SeatMaestro which shows the same A330-300, but this time both rows have windows. The rows, however are on the wing rather than in front of it. It offers the A330-200 as well and the first configuration looks like what I chose and is fine.

So I called Aer Lingus directly, since once you book your tickets, you no longer can see seat maps on the Aer Lingus site, nor can you change the seats you chose. The rep from Aer Lingus assured me that he was looking at the seat map and that both rows have actual windows. Then he added that he has found that SeatGuru is very often wrong. He said it was not necessary to change seats, and so I left the seats as is, but now I have this nagging worry that I paid extra for these seats and that one row won't have a window.

So....all you frequent fliers out there....what is your experience with this? Is there a way to know for sure if our paid-for window seat and row will actually have a window? Less important but still would be nice to know is whether we are sitting on the wing. When I selected seats, the wing was behind the seats I chose, but on these seat-map websites it sometimes shows our rows as directly on the wing.

Finally, if we end up with no window, would we be able to ask the airline for a refund of the extra seat charges for that row? The rep who assured me we have windows was on the phone and so I don't have anything in writing. I don't know how I would get something in writing. It would seem odd to me to write to an executive about this! When I chose the seats at the time of buying the tickets, the seats were perfect, but I have no access to that Aer Lingus map now.

Advice welcome!
 
Last edited:

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
11,966
12,215
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#2
I have found the maps incorrect on the airlines websites AND SeatGuru. The worst I ever had was booking seats and paying extra on Emirates.
The seat map given to choose seats was for the wrong plane type. We chose seats show as 2 seats in a row. The plane ended up having three in a row and we were stuck with middle seats. When we spoke to an FA, she said they get that complaint all the time as the seat map depends on the plane model- the same plane they use have two different configurations. Because I didn’t have a screen print showing what I chose, Emirates didn’t give us back a penny when we complained because they said we still received the rest of the benefits of being seated in the portion of the cabin we paid for. More leg room and getting off the plane first.

I think the same would happen if you didn’t end up with a window in the place you want. You are sitting in the front of the plane and getting whatever perks those seats offer, whether it’s a window seat precisely where you want it or not. No one is guaranteeing a window exactly where you want it.
 
Likes: jsn55
May 16, 2018
20
6
3
54
#3
No one is guaranteeing a window exactly where you want it.
Thanks for sharing your experience Neil. Your point is well-taken that no one is guaranteeing a window exactly where I want it, but since I did pay extra for a window and aisle, I would expect that a window seat would actually have a window and an aisle seat would actually be on the aisle. It's not right that you selected aisle and ended up in the middle, unless there was an equipment failure requiring a last-minute change of aircraft. At that point we all have to just go with the flow and make the best of it.

I do wish I had made screen shots of the seats I chose, but it didn't occur to me to do so. Add that to the list of all the other things travelers must do now, like photographing every inch of a rental car.

Perhaps the next step would be to pose the question in writing using the form on the airline website. If I get a response telling me that they are window and aisle, at least I will have that in writing from an airline rep.

I do find it strange that the website wouldn't just show me the seat map and my seats when logging in, even if it didn't allow me to change them online.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
11,966
12,215
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#4
I am not sure why you can’t see that either. Did you book directly or through an online agency? If you booked directly I’m not sure why you can’t see seats when you log into you account.

If you bought Choice Seats- you only bought seats at the front of the plane. You didn’t buy a guarantee a window of aisle seat- you guarantee the section of the plane.

Choice Seat
Sit up front for a speedy exit.

Just so you understand- your seat choices are never guaranteed. If they change the type of aircraft- your seat assignments can change. If your flight is canceled and you are rebooked on another flight - you will have different seats and we have seen countless problems where people that had first or business class are put in economy.

I think you are over worrying about this. Relax and understand that none of the seat charts are guaranteed . If you check seat guru, it might state right on the seating charts that there are different configurations of the same plane.

If you bought Choice Seats you are buying access to the front of the plane and nothing else.
 
Sep 19, 2015
1,760
3,016
113
47
#6
I usually book aisle seats on long haul flights, but when I book by a window I like to look out and would not like the windowless window seats.

Here is the link for the seat maps on Aer Lingus.

https://www.aerlingus.com/media/pdfs/aerlingus_seat_maps.pdf

What is often the issue is that the airline may swap the configuration (between 330-200 and 330-300) closer to the date of travel, depending on bookings, maintenance issues, etc.

As Neil pointed out choice seats just guarantee the front section of economy.

Right now it looks as if Aer Lingus is flying the 330-200 on the route according to flightaware but it does not tell which version. And anything can change.

There are numerous complaints online about the accuracy of seatguru.

I wish I actually had a suggestion to give you,
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
6,385
6,443
113
San Francisco
#7
Oh boy, Jane, this is a very common issue with us "picky passengers". I too have specific wants for seats, and find that there's little support for us from an airline. In my experience, you will not know until you board. Even if the seats you have reserved are what you want today, an aircraft change tomorrow could create a whole new ballgame.

I would change the seats immediately to two other rows with no potential problems. Why risk it?

I am just now going through research on airlines/cabins/seats from San Francisco to China for a trip next year. It's VERY difficult to pin down specifics. Part of the issue is that airlines don't want people screaming at them when they don't get what they want. So they're cagey about the information they provide. Can't say that I blame them!
 
Likes: Neil Maley
May 16, 2018
20
6
3
54
#8
Just so you know this- I just checked an Aer Lingus flight from Bos- Dub- it showed row 13 as standard economy, not choice. It seems Seat Guru is wrong right there.
Hi Neil,

I know my seats are Choice because I bought them on the airline website at the moment I bought the tickets, and they were listed as Choice. They are also listed on my ticket as Choice, and the fee is listed as "Choice Seat Fee."

And.......no need to tell me that I should just relax. I actually said in my first message to you that if there is an equipment change that one just has to go with the flow and make the best of it--so we were already on the same page there. I said that in response to your own complaint that you were given a middle seat when you selected aisle.

I had also said right off the bat that I know that nothing is ever guaranteed, but if they are offering those seats for a price, I do believe I have a right to the expectation, barring any equipment change. If I don't have a right to the expectation, what is the incentive to pay extra?

For the record, when I log into my Aer Lingus account, I can see what my seats are, just as a listing, but it does not show the seating map, nor does it allow me to change my seat selections. That option to select seats on the seating map was only available when I was selecting seats at the moment of paying for my tickets. If you have some information as to how I could access the seating chart, I would so appreciate if you could share it.

Thanks for your help.

Oh boy, Jane, this is a very common issue with us "picky passengers". I too have specific wants for seats, and find that there's little support for us from an airline. In my experience, you will not know until you board. Even if the seats you have reserved are what you want today, an aircraft change tomorrow could create a whole new ballgame.

I would change the seats immediately to two other rows with no potential problems. Why risk it?

I am just now going through research on airlines/cabins/seats from San Francisco to China for a trip next year. It's VERY difficult to pin down specifics. Part of the issue is that airlines don't want people screaming at them when they don't get what they want. So they're cagey about the information they provide. Can't say that I blame them!
Hi Jsn55, Is it really considered picky to not want to sit in a middle seat?! I don't know anyone who would choose the middle seat.
(Yes, yes, as I have said earlier, I am aware that nothing is guaranteed and that an equipment change can throw things off.)
 
Feb 17, 2018
10
18
3
53
#9
As others have said, your paying for the upgrade section, not a specific seat within that area.

You can still be bumped from that seat for a few reasons. The most common is an equipment change, but another is that if the airline reduces the number of flights for the same city pairs, they will move passengers to other flights. The computer will re-assign seats based on select criteria which may include who booked the same seat selection first, regardless of the flight. Another is to accommodate an Air Marshal or other law enforcement request or a deadheading aircrew. These last ones usually only happen on the date of flight.

If you get bumped from your seat, the airline will either place you in another available seat within that section, or if they cannot do that, they will reimburse you the cost of your upgraded seat.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
11,966
12,215
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#10
Have you tried calling Aer Lingus to see if they can change your seat sssignments?

I think we’ve answered your question - yes, Seat Guru and the airline websites can both be wrong showing the seat configurations.

No you would not be able to ask for a refund of the seat costs if your seats are still in the choice seat section. If you are moved to economy- then yes you would be entitled to a refund but not if you are still in the choice section.

I hope your seats will be just fine. Good luck.
 
Likes: krisseye
May 16, 2018
20
6
3
54
#11
As others have said, your paying for the upgrade section, not a specific seat within that area.

You can still be bumped from that seat for a few reasons. The most common is an equipment change, but another is that if the airline reduces the number of flights for the same city pairs, they will move passengers to other flights. The computer will re-assign seats based on select criteria which may include who booked the same seat selection first, regardless of the flight. Another is to accommodate an Air Marshal or other law enforcement request or a deadheading aircrew. These last ones usually only happen on the date of flight.

If you get bumped from your seat, the airline will either place you in another available seat within that section, or if they cannot do that, they will reimburse you the cost of your upgraded seat.
To FALTraveler and others: It seems that no matter how many times I write that I know nothing is guaranteed and that I know I can be bumped from a seat and so forth, I continue to get scolded here! I'm not sure why, since I haven't disagreed with anyone on these points, nor have I insisted that I am entitled to any specific seat.

I do admit to making the obviously outlandish assertion that it is not unreasonable for a passenger who is offered the opportunity to pay to select a seat to expect an aisle or window if that is what she selected. The fact that the airlines actually have you select specific seats does give passengers the notion that they will actually sit in those.
Of course, nothing is guaranteed. There...I've said it yet again! So, no need for anyone else to pile on.

To Neil: Thanks for your thoughts regarding a refund of seat costs. And thanks for clarifying that the seat-map sites can be wrong. I did call Aer Lingus and the rep insisted that the rows we chose had windows, and so I left the seats as is. I suppose I could do as Jsn55 suggests and just change the seats anyway just to be sure.

Thanks to all for answering my questions.
 
May 16, 2018
20
6
3
54
#13
Jane, when you check in at the airport, ask the agent to confirm your window view so if by any chance there has been a change in the plane type you have the opportunity to ask to have seats moved if there are extra seats.
Thanks Neil! Looking forward to this trip!
 
Feb 21, 2018
13
22
3
56
#14
It's likely that most seats along the outside walls of an airplane have windows...of some degree. Not every row has what is considered a 'full' window - many have the left side of a window forward and the right side of the window behind, which restricts the ability to look out. Perhaps that is what you are hoping for in a window - a 'full' one?

What's even more interesting is that the exact same airplane type may not have full windows in the exact same rows, because the amount space between each row may vary depending on how may passengers the airline wants to carry.
 
Likes: Neil Maley